Southbound Again
From the Baltic to the Mediterranean

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The Scandinavian summer of 1996 was the coldest I can remember. Having recently spent several seasons in the gentle climate of the Caribbean we felt that the Baltic weather was too brutal for us and the decission to sail back to lower latitudes was easy to make.

Ralle and Jocke
Christiansö harbour

Scorpio's second longer voyage to the tropics took off on July 1, 1997. Our departure point in Finland was the small holiday town of Hangö in the south west. Malla would be busy working the summer long, and as crew on the first leg to the Kiel Canal I was joined by old friends Ralle and Jocke.

Our first, and only, stop before the Kiel Canal was at the tiny double island of Christiansö, which had long been on my Bucket List. Although closer to the south coast of Sweden, this old fortress island belongs to Denmark, as does its larger and better known neighbour Bornholm.

of our route in the Baltic Sea

Cameras galore
Change of crew in Holtenau
HMS Victory in Portsmouth
In Holtenau, the port at the Baltic entrance (or exit) of the Kiel Canal, we had a change of crew and after the transit of the North See - Ost See Kanal (which I believe is close to its official name) we crossed the North Sea and three days later entered the English Channel, where our first port of call was at Brighton. from the Kiel Canal to the English Channel
HMS Victory detail
The inner harour at Waymouth

A coastal transit of the English Channel requires paying attention to the tides and taking advantage of the tidal streams. During our passage, the stream turned west before daybreak and the next days we sailed between around 4 in the morning and noon, when we tied to docks in Gosport, Weymouth, Dartmouth and finally (as an exception, after a full day's sailing) Falmouth. The afternoons we spent exploring ashore or just sitting in the cockpit in the heart of these vibrant coastal towns, enjoying the scenery, sipping our favourite beverages. In Portsmouth we visited Admiral Horatio Nelson's flagship, the HMS Victory, pictured above.

Sudland Bay
La Coruna, Galicia
This is the only fish Janne landed
Meeting a possible crew member

In Falmouth I was joined by Janne who would crew with me all the way to Gibraltar. During the first two days of our crossing of the notorious Bay of Biscay the seas were dead calm, but the remaining two days we had plenty of wind and confused seas, so, on average I guess you could say that the weather was moderate.

In Galicia we day-sailed for a while and stopped at La Coruna, Lage, Muros and Bayona before we took off on a longer leg, down the Portugese coast and around Cabo Sao Vicente (the most southeastern point of mainland Europe) to Lagos in Algarve.

of our track from Falmouth to Gibraltar

The entrance to Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
Cabo sao Vicente
The Rock
Gibraltar Ape, Morocco in the distance
View from the top, Algeciras in the distance

After a stop at Vilamoura we headed for Gibraltar, passing the area of the Battle of Trafalgar on the way, again crossing the path of Admiral Nelson. On the painting below (middle) HMS Victory is being towed from Trafalgar to Gibraltar; you can see the same contour of the Rock as on the photo to the left.

Europa Point
Nelson's last voyage,
Europa Point in the background
Janne signed off in Gibraltar
Stormy conditions at Puerto Portals.
Waves breaking over the breakwater

Janne signed off in Gibraltar and I sailed single for a while until Malla joined me at Benalmadena. During the following two months we then sailed eastward along the Spanish coast until we crossed over to the islands, first to Ibiza and then to Mallorca. Puerto Portals, a suburb of Palma de Mallorca would be our home port for the following winter.

of our ports in Mediterranean mainland Spain and Morocco during 1997-2000 of our ports in the Balearic Islands during 1997-2000

We stayed three years in the Mediterranean. Read ahead ...

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